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This Way, Please: Why We’re Going Left
Nov 10

This Way, Please: Why We’re Going Left

By Phipps Conservatory

As visitors to this year’s Fall Flower Show have discovered, instead of turning right at every intersection, we’re currently guiding visitors to turn left, a policy that will continue through the Winter Flower Show and Light Garden. It’s simple switch, but one which we expect will transform the way you experience our displays and make this year’s show better than ever. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Going left will reduce crowd congestion. The holiday season is one of the most popular times of year at Phipps, which can sometimes lead to a very packed glasshouse. Upon analyzing visitor flow patterns from last year’s show, we identified several “bottleneck” areas (particularly around our Fern and Orchid Rooms); the new flow is expected to reduce crowding in these key areas.
  • Going left will create a new story. Our dramatic Winter Light Garden, formerly one of the first stops in the show, will now occur near the end of the visit. This creates a new “story” for the show to tell, one in which the excitement and anticipation of our outdoor displays can build room by room throughout the show.
  • Going left allows for a bigger, better show. To make this year’s show even bigger and better,  we’re extending the Winter Flower Show experience to two additional rooms: our Fruit and Spice Room – with considerably larger pathways than the Orchid and Fern Rooms – will serve as the gateway to Winter Light Garden, and on many nights, the large gathering areas in our Tropical Forest Conservatory will host the live music performances in our Candlelight Evenings series, which means there will be more room for everyone to enjoy the festive sounds of the season.

In our research, we also discovered that this isn’t the first time Phipps has asked guests to turn left, as seen in this historic photo of our Palm Court: 

So, as we look forward to seeing you at this year’s Winter Flower Show and Light Garden, we hope you’ll be as excited as we are to experience Phipps in a whole new direction!

Select photos © Paul g. Wiegman


Just wanted to say “went left” when i was there last month and it threw me off completely! I felt like i was driving a car in England!I was laughing the whole time, thinking of how many years I have “gone right”!

By Jeff Contillo on Nov 10, 2015

We were just there Friday, November 6, and couldn’t figure out why everyone was going backward. Totally missed the signs. Can’t wait for the winter show. No matter which way you send us, it will be magical.

By Debbie Z. on Nov 10, 2015

I visited the fall show over the weekend and the left turn directions worked for the most part, but seemed to get lost once you reached the “end” at the Butterfly and Orchid rooms. Perhaps a bit more direction in navigating to and between those rooms would be helpful—especially for the heavier traffic at the during the winter show!

By Sarah Carr on Nov 10, 2015

We were there a few weeks ago and were completely thrown off as well. We managed to go to the rooms in the right order but kept finding ourselves walking the wrong direction through the room until we met people coming the other way. Old habits die hard I guess. Maybe we’ll do better next time!

By Erin on Nov 10, 2015

The “turn left” thing isn’t working. I went to the fall flower show twice and both times were chaotic. There were way too many people going in the wrong direction. Please change it back!  And in the meantime improve the signage.

By TL on Nov 10, 2015

Loved going left!  No more rote marching through the exhibits.  I was able to see the show in an entirely new way!  Thanks for innovating

By Rachel R on Nov 10, 2015

I agree very much with Sarah Carr.  A bit more “signage” to remind those of us who have gone to the right for decades should help the flow.  Coming out of individual rooms seemed the most confusing.  As for changing the direction—change can be good.  It was interesting to see old favorites from a new direction.

By Cindy Faulk on Nov 12, 2015

Maybe left-handed people will like it better.  I love Phipps no matter what direction you send me.

By Lorraine Forster on Nov 12, 2015

I went to the Fall Flower Show, and expected the “keep left” to make my visit a new and magical experience.  I was wrong.  The whole visit ended up being extremely stressful.  Negotiating the traffic pattern eclipsed all else, and I did not enjoy the flowers nearly as much as I normally do.  I could not get out of there quickly enough!  I was hoping for a relaxing and serene visit.  I got stress and chaos.  Please put it back.

By Dana on Nov 18, 2015

I went right the whole way through the fall show and couldn’t figure out why so many people were going the other way, until I saw the introductory signs about Haiku and Mums at the “end”.

To avoid this at Christmas, force people to hand their ticket to the attendant at the entrance from the left and enter through the left hand door. I entered from the right and at that point, there was a barrier blocking a left turn.

Turning left will feel so wrong but I like the idea of putting the light garden last. We like to come see the show with the last of daylight then head outside once it gets dark. The new layout should be great for that!

By Jackie on Nov 18, 2015

That explains everything.
I was there 2 weeks ago with my grandson in a stroller & I couldn’t figure out why everyone was going the wrong way. 
But it was I who was going the wrong way.  It would’ve helped me if the person at the check in desk told of the change.  I didn’t see a sign & the man at the top by the elevator just seemed irritated & didn’t say anything either. Sorry, I’ll do better in the future.

By Julia Melnick on Nov 22, 2015